Lord, Teach Us to Pray {Part 2}: 10 Thresholds in Prayer + Giveaway

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This post is linked to Top Ten Tuesday.

One of my personal goals is to cultivate a habit of prayer. I’m sharing what I’ve learned over the last month or so in this series. Here is the line-up:

Monday, May 21st: Focusing in Prayer with Prayer Breathing
Tuesday, May 22nd: 10 Thresholds in Prayer (Giveaway Entry)**SEE DETAILS AT END OF POST**
Thursday, May 24th: Praying the Lord’s Prayer Part 1
Monday, May 28th: Praying the Lord’s Prayer Part 2
Tuesday, May 29th: Praying Scripture: 10 Passages
Thursday, May 31st: Obstacles to Prayer
Friday, June 1st: Book Review: Prayer On Fire by Fred A. Hartley, III (Giveaway Winner Announced)

I will be tweeting using the hashtag #Luke11 (the Lord’s Prayer) during the series. I hope you’ll join in the conversation after you read my posts! As always, you can comment directly on the post or join us on Facebook as well.

Thresholds in PrayerWhen Chip said we were going to need to work through several thresholds in prayer, I did not know what to think. What did he mean by “thresholds”? That sounded awful existential and hokey pokey to me. I am a pretty matter of fact, straight-forward person. I’m not really into non-concrete, intangible methods. I needed someone to put improving my prayer life into some action steps so I could see a picture in my head of what it would look like. This totally did not sound like it. Boy was I wrong. Despite my misgivings, I trusted my lead pastor. I knew he was a godly man who took seriously his position as shepherd of the flock. He at least had me curious.

What are these “thresholds” he’s talking about?

Will I be brave enough to walk through them?

I hope I don’t have to pray out loud.

I’m really not comfortable raising my hands either.

Those were my thoughts. I was already limiting myself and this experience. I’m thankful the Lord pushes us beyond our own boundaries and comfort zones.

Ten Thresholds in Prayer

1. Praying Out Loud

Only number one and I’m already being challenged. Normally, I would have no problem praying out loud, but we were in an intimate setting with a new church family. I didn’t really know these people. What if I said something wrong? Or intensely personal?

However, when the time came, there was just a burning in my gut to voice my prayer. I know it was the Holy Spirit. I felt like I would burst if I did not say it out loud.

2. Open Hands

Oh thank goodness. He only said open hands. He did not say I have to raise them.

The open hands serve to remind us to be in a position to receive from God…to pause and listen. Be still and Know. This might perhaps be my most favorite of the thresholds. It was exactly what I asked for…a concrete, tangible method. (exactly the opposite of what I thought). Much like the prayer breathing yesterday, this open handed posture is a physical reminder of what I want to do in prayer…listen for His voice.

3. A Posture of Prayer

The point of this threshold is simply to be open to any posture of prayer to which the Lord leads you. We often think hands neatly folded, eyes closed, head bowed, and while that is a fine posture, there is nothing magical about it. We can pray standing, kneeling, laying prostrate, or however the Lord leads us.

4. Limit the Focus

“The more faith you have the more specific your prayers will be.” (Quote from a campus pastor during Wednesday night Bible study)

Instead of detailing your laundry list of requests to God, focus in on one aspect of prayer. Be specific about what you are seeking from God. This is not to guarantee that God will grant your request, but praying specifically helps you recognize the answer when it comes.

5. Praying with Eyes Open

One reason for this threshold is simply the practical: when spending long periods of time in prayer as we did at the prayer retreat, closing your eyes may lead to sleep! :)

But the second (and greater) reason is that praying with your eyes open allows you to connect with those you are praying with and agree with their prayers in spirit…which leads to…

6. Agreement in Prayer

I remember when I was in high school on a mission trip, we served in an African American church in Maryland. They “amened” during the service when the preacher said something they especially agreed with. This was the first time I had ever experienced such a thing. I don’t really remember what I thought about it. I do remember when people started “amening” at my home church, some folks did not like it. :)

Agreement in prayer is similar to an “amen” during a sermon. You are verbalizing your agreement with what that person has prayed. You may say “amen”, “let it be”, “yes, Lord”, or whatever you are lead to say. This provides an amazing picture of unity in the body of believers as we agree with one another in prayer.

7. Praying in Jesus’ Name and His Authority

Jesus tells his disciples multiple times that whatever they as in His name, the Father will give them (John 14:13-14; 15:16; 16:23; and 16:24). What does it mean to pray in Jesus’ name? This is so much more than “In Jesus’ name, Amen.” tacked onto the end of a prayer.

Praying in Christ’s name means praying in agreement with His will…asking for what He would desire. Wow. That is a game changer.

8. Praying Beyond Our Resources

This is where I was challenged to pray “big prayers” rather than “safe” prayers. Pray for something that you know cannot be done except by divine intervention. God desires to come and show Himself strong and mighty in our weakness. He gets the glory.

9. A flow of Prayer

Jesus gave the disciples a framework for prayer in Luke 11 which I will look at in the next two posts.

10. Time.

This is perhaps the most difficult threshold to walk through. Abandoning our time restraints in order to really focus on God in prayer. This requires making prayer a priority.

See? They weren’t that bad! Some are likely more challenging for each of us, but they are simply steps we can take to improve our prayer life.


I will be giving away a copy of Prayer On Fire by Fred Hartley! Enter Below! The winner will be announced Friday, June 1st with my review of his book.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Photo Credit: 1, 2

(I received all of this information as a participant of the Kneel prayer retreat through Pinelake Church. Prayer on Fire by Fred Hartley and The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson influenced the format of the retreat.)

This post is linked to Giveaway Day at Hip Homeschool Moms.

Some links are affiliate links.


  1. Awesome post! I joined a Moms in Touch group (they are now called Moms in Prayer) in August…and it has been absolutely terrifying but has truly taught me how to pray. I used to be so afraid of praying out loud that I’d start dreading the meetings the whole day before. Now, almost a year later…I can honestly say I love to pray…and even pray out loud now. : ) That book sounds great!

    (I’m a new blogger too. Can’t remember how I found your blog, but I love it!)

  2. I am lazy, and like to be comfy, so I think “posture of prayer” is most difficult for me. My normal routine of sitting in my big brown chair in the morning for my quiet time, usually makes me SO cozy I begin to doze. I have been thinking lately that I should get out of my chair for prayer and you just confirmed that for me!

  3. This post is very well thought out. Prayer is a very special gift from a loving Father. It is good to open the package up wide and explore the possibilities.

  4. MB, good stuff. Since the beginning of the year, improving my prayer life has been an emphasis for me so this is coming at a great time. Some of those thresholds are particularly great. As mentioned earlier (by Rebecca) I think, my biggest challenge in both my personal time and in corporate prayer is staying focused on Him. My mind is so prone to wander. And if my thoughts are not on Him, then I’m not really communing with Him and certainly not worshiping/praying in Spirit and in Truth. Another conviction of mine is my general lack of prayer throughout the day. I’m reading a daily devotional called Teach Me to Pray by Andrew Murray and he quoted once something to the effect that this tendency obviously comes from a lack of dependence on Him. If we aren’t praying consistently, we must not feel we need the Almighty in every aspect of our lives. Ouch! Only the Spirit can change these carnal tendencies. My prayer is for Him to break my hard heart and pride and make me realize my utter dependence on Him for everything.

    • MB@NewLifeSteward says:

      Wow! That is a convicting quote, but totally true. If I’m not thinking to call out to Him, then I must think I can handle it on my own. The prayer breathing that I talked about yesterday has been really beneficial for keeping me focused as well as praying throughout the day.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting! Hope you are settling in well to the new place!

  5. Sam Crawford says:

    What great insights on prayer. Thank you for sharing these. I intend to apply these to strenghten my prayer life. Blessings!

  6. Alyson M says:

    What a great challenge! Definitely convicted to work harder on my prayer life!

  7. Rebecca says:

    Hi friend!!! I would say my most difficult aspect of prayer is time. No matter what my grand plan is for praying, I find my mind wandering and the time ends up being shorter than I intended. In that, I often don’t listen respectfully enough for Him to actually communicate back if He chooses. Great post!

  8. I’m on a spiritual journey as well and trying to deepen my the way/how I pray right now; and enjoyed reading your thoughts this morning.

    • MB@NewLifeSteward says:

      I’m glad you stopped by. I hope the series helps you connect better and hear from the Lord. :)


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